Friday, September 28, 2007

Some Cool New Ways to Use Google to Research Keywords

Quite some time ago, I wrote about the process of doing research to discover the strongest search terms. I wrote about it in terms of supply and demand. The demand of a keyword is represented by how many people are actually searching for it. The supply is shown by how many other websites are actually using that keyword (or phrase). As in all forms of valuation, something is worth more if it is high in demand and low in supply. So, in your website, you want to use lots of words that have a lot of people searching for them, and not so many other people using them.

Once you’ve discovered words based on those two basic principles, it’s very interesting to use some search parameters at Google and Yahoo and do some deeper testing and get some numbers that are useful in different ways. Many of these are done by adding certain commands or phrases in front of the word you’re searching for. These can focus your searches and give you more specific information.

  1. intitle:

When you do a search, type the string “intitle:” (include the colon, but not the quotes) before the keyword you’re wanting to research. For example, I might type “intitle:fishing” (notice there’s no spaces at all). This kind of a search would return a big list of all the web pages that included the word “fishing” in their title tags. This will give you a number that reflects more closely the number of pages that are really competing with you. This would eliminate pages that merely mention the word deep in the text.

If you have a keyword phrase, you need to put the intitle: command in front of each word. For example, I might type: “intitle:fly intitle:fishing”.

  1. inurl:

The “inurl:” command is similar to the “intitle:” command in that it limits the search results. In this case, however, it will only show the sites that include the keyword in the URL (the address). Again, this helps you see how much competition you have in a more direct way.

  1. link:

The “link”: command is a little different in that you don’t search for a keyword, but rather, you search for a URL.

We all know that inbound linking is a major factor, possibly the biggest factor, in search engine ranking success. So, from time to time, it’s valuable to know just how many other people are linking to you. Go to the search engine and type “”. What you will see is a hopefully big list of all the sites that the search engine is counting in your ranking. If’ it’s not big, then you know what you have to work on!

  1. inanchor:

This one is similar to the other keyword search commands, but with a twist. When you search a word with the “inanchor:” you’re seeing in the results a list of every page that has a link pointing to it, where the link text contains the keyword.

Got that? It’s confusing.

So, if I’m running a fishing page, and there are people that link to me using the word “fishing” on their pages, my page will show up in this list. Inbound links are important, but they get kicked up a notch when they include keywords in the link text. Here you can see if anyone is linking to you with killer keywords.

  1. * keyword

If you’re trying to think of new keyword phrases you haven’t checked yet, this one can help. I could type “* fishing” in my search. The “*”, in computer lingo, represents what’s called a “wildcard”. That means that the computer knows something is supposed to go there, but it can put anything in its place. So, for example, if I typed “* fishing” in my search, I immediately see more words that I can research. I see “fly fishing”, “sport fishing”, “saltwater fishing”, and more!

  1. News and Blogs

By searching specific areas of the search engine for a particular keyword, you can tell just how much that area is paying attention. Searching News feeds in Yahoo! will tell you how immediate a keyword is. Searching the blogs at will tell you where the buzz is.

Now, none of these is a substitute for basic research. It’s very unlikely that your customers will be using these parameters and commands to do their searching, so you’ll still want to check your results in the most common way. Still, it can give you good insights into your market and what you can do about it!

Mark is the co-director of, the search marketing consulting arm of Clickincome ( Mark also has other sites and blogs, including and his MoBoy blog.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Kangaroos on Bicycles

It’s funny where inspiration and ideas come from. And it’s often even funnier how they get applied.

Walk with me a minute, and I’ll show you what I mean.

A long time ago, I took a college summer class in poetry writing. I had declared a creative writing minor, and they offered this class from a special guest instructor. I learned a lot from this lady, that I’ve applied in all kinds of writing (and, frankly, living) ever since.

One thing I learned was that often, exciting results come from combining two things that are completely unrelated. She taught us to randomly come up with two nouns, and then the assignment was to write a poem that contained or dealt with those two completely unrelated nouns. One girl in the class came up with a result that has stuck with me for years. Her nouns ended up being “Kangaroo” and “Bicycle”.

At first, when I heard her words, I thought, “I’m glad those aren’t my words.” My words, and my result, of course were so incredible, and so well crafted that, in the end, I’ve completely forgotten them.

But her poem came out with the line: “We love like kangaroos on bicycles…” The point of her poem was that often when we try to relate to each other and love each other, we end up as clumsy and as silly as kangaroos on bicycles, and then we crash.

Now, flash forward a lot of years. I’m working with students and websites, and I’m trying to teach them how to create truly unique content for their websites. I’m not just talking about technically unique content, where the actual words and letters are different, but conceptually unique, where you write something that truly is new.

Why do you want to do that? Because “unique” draws ”attention”. And on the web, “attention” is followed by links, ranking, and traffic.

Conceptually unique content can be a very difficult thing to achieve when your product is commonplace. Let’s say that you’re selling cookware. Do a google search. How many other people are under a cookware listing? 18 million plus, as of this writing, and you’re about to make that one more. What can you do at your site to be unique, to be different from every other site selling cookware?

Well, let’s play the same game. Let’s pick two words that are completely different and see what comes up. One of them will be the product you’re trying to sell. In this example: Cookware. The other word will be something random. How do you get a random word? Well fortunately, the internet will provide all. I googled “random word” and found a website that will generate just that. Using this marvelously useful tool, I generated a word. It actually too a time or two to get something that sparked a cool idea. But it happened. I got “Hindsight”.

Wow. What content could you provide that included the words “Cookware” and “Hindsight”?

Well, has there ever been a time in your life when something you cooked and/or served turned out so excruciatingly badly that, in hindsight, you realized that you shouldn’t have done it? Or at least wish you had done something else? What a great story that would be! What great fresh content that would be! The net is full of homemaking gurus whose houses are perfect and make bundles of money telling everyone how to be the perfect hosts. How about telling us about a time when it all went south!? Don’t you thing a lot more people could relate to that?

Let’s try it again: “Cookware” and “Swimming”?

Maybe something about cooking for a day at the pool. Or how about: “Waiting 30 minutes after eating to swim: Fact or Myth?” Maybe tips for washing your dishes in your pool. Just run with the ideas and see what comes out!

A few more points: When you’re writing content for your site, remember these suggestions:

  1. Make it both technically unique and conceptually unique
  2. Make it intriguing and/or entertaining
  3. If it’s keyword laden, it’s easier for people to find, and if they find it, they can link to it.
  4. Don’t just sit on it, announce it and promote it!

Mark is the co-director of, the search marketing consulting arm of Clickincome ( Mark also has other sites and blogs, including and his MoBoy blog.